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Creating Career Paths for UX Professionals

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What makes a Senior IA? Is going down the management path the only way to get ahead? Do you need a team of generalists or specialists? How do you know when to promote someone? Are you hiring the ...

What makes a Senior IA? Is going down the management path the only way to get ahead? Do you need a team of generalists or specialists? How do you know when to promote someone? Are you hiring the person or the job description? These are questions all managers face, but some answers are better than others.

Defining career paths within a UX group is an easy thing to do, yet many managers never get around to doing it. This session presents a framework around which you can clearly define roles, set goals, and provide clear opportunities for career advancement for your team.

I’ve found that using this career pathing framework has increased job satisfaction for my direct reports, created a way to facilitate conversations about career advancement and performance, improved our recruiting process and helped me to be a better manager.

This presentation covers:

* Defining structure: exploring agency vs. in-house group models
* Defining parallel tracks: people management vs. technical leadership paths
* Creating job descriptions, titles, job families and salary grades
* Recruiting and selecting great team members – the difference between job descriptions and job ads, using career pathing as a recruiting tool
* Using career pathing documents: creating development plans, setting goals, and using them to deal with difficult conversations about performance, expectations and compensation.

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  • Handouts are now available on Scribd:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2561831/Job-Description-Matrix
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2561830/Example-Competencies
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2561829/Quarterly-Goals-Template
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/2561828/Blank-Job-Description-M...

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Creating Career Paths for UX Professionals Presentation Transcript

  • 1.  
  • 2. A Little Bit About Me
    • Manage UX team for Citrix Online, a division of Citrix Systems
      • UX Designers, Researchers, Tech Writers
    • Built and managed UX teams for about 5 years
    • Started out as a UI designer/usability specialist
    • A short first time manager story…
  • 3.  
  • 4. Six Important Questions
    • Do I know what is expected of me at work?
    • Do I have the materials I need to do my work right?
    • At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
    • In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
    • Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
    • Is there someone at work who encourages my development ?
    • Source: First Break All the Rules , Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, 1999
  • 5. Job Descriptions & Career Ladder
    • Do I know what is expected of me at work?
    • Do I have the materials I need to do my work right?
    • At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
    • Source: First Break All the Rules , Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, 1999
  • 6. Goal Setting, Coaching and Feedback
    • In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
    • Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
    • Is there someone at work who encourages my development ?
    • Source: First Break All the Rules , Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, 1999
  • 7. Get The Basics Down
    • Career Ladder & Job Descriptions
    • Goal Setting & Tracking
    • Reviews, Coaching & Feedback
  • 8.  
  • 9. Defining Job Families
    • Who do we have? (Allocation, Skills, Roles, Specialists vs. Generalists)
    • What do we need? (Identifying Gaps)
    • What do they have in common? (Grouping)
  • 10. Multiple Tracks
    • Differentiate based on main differences/attributes
  • 11. Define Levels
    • How many do you need? It depends!
  • 12. The Five Parts of a Job Description
    • Title
    • Duties (Responsibilities, Tasks, Deliverables)
    • Requirements (Experience, Knowledge, Skills)
    • Competencies (Behaviors)
    • Scope of Influence (Supervision, Leadership, Interactions, Decision-making)
  • 13. Job Description Matrix Less -> More
  • 14. Scope of Influence
    • Level of supervision/approval needed
    • Supervision/direction of others
    • Interactions with other roles or groups
    • Discretion: Responsibility for decisions (and effect of mistakes!)
  • 15. Job Titles -> Scope of Influence*
    • Principal, Creative Director, Chief, VP, President, CXO, Managing Partner
    • Manager, Director, Strategist, Architect, Partner
    • Staff, Senior, Lead, Art Director
    • Mid-level, Analyst
    • Associate, Assistant, Junior, Coordinator, Production
    • *Consider the perceived value of the title and role!
  • 16. Duties & Requirements
    • Be as exhaustive as possible!
    • Brainstorm; involve the entire team
    • Crib from job postings (but be realistic!)
    • Look at top performers – what are they doing?
    • Then differentiate requirements for each level and role
  • 17. Duties & Requirements
    • Duties don’t necessarily change – add scope & complexity
    • Differentiate clearly across levels
    • Participation in requirements gathering and review sessions .
    • How might this change based on level?
  • 18. Competencies
    • Translate generalities and traits into specifics and behaviors. For example:
    • “Plays well with others” -> Teamwork
      • Works in concert with others toward shared goals
      • Exhibits cooperativeness
      • Participates in and supports positive conflict resolution
      • Collaborates cross-functionally
      • Puts needs of team over personal needs
    • How might this competency change based on level?
  • 19. Salary Benchmarking
    • Compensation surveys (Mellon, Radford)
    • Industry salary surveys (IA Institute, UPA)*
    • Public job postings (SimplyHired)
    • Then define low, mid and high range for each level
    • *Take with a massive grain of salt when you can’t compare descriptions!
  • 20. Broadbanding
    • Broad, overlapping pay scales
    • Discourages people taking the wrong path for the money – “rewarding in place”
    • An IA performing excellently is worth more than a manager performing poorly!
  • 21. Job Descriptions vs. Job Ads
    • Explaining the job vs. Selling the job
    • Use the exhaustive description to better understand who you’re looking for
    • Then: Edit, edit, edit!
    • Once they start, use the job description, not the ad, to set expectations
  • 22. Exercise: Job Description Matrix Less -> More
  • 23.  
  • 24.  
  • 25.  
  • 26.  
  • 27. Managing Expectations (on both sides)
    • What do you do when expectations for title/salary are out of alignment?
    • Provide a clear path to advancement
    • Be fair, be consistent.
    • Don’t be tempted to inflate titles!
  • 28. Regular Goal Setting
    • Give them the first shot at it!
    • Use descriptions/career path as a foundation
    • Offer objectives, not goals
    • Define success but let them find their own way
    • Have regular check-ins
  • 29. Goal Tracking Document                   Personal Goals                   Project/Group Goals Performance Rating/Comments Due Date Goal Description     Objectives: Q1 Goals (1/1/08-3/31/08)
  • 30. Coaching & Goals – Moving Up
    • Be open to questions, keep open dialogue
    • Encourage partnerships with senior team members
    • Find special assignments & research projects
    • Offer ways of operating cross-functionally
    • Find opportunities to let them delegate
    • Provide opportunities to mentor others
    • Help them understand and work on strategic issues
  • 31. Coaching & Goals – Barriers
    • Not asking questions, repeated technical mistakes
    • Slow skills development, stuck in old methods
    • Working too much alone
    • Lack of accountability for problems
    • Not prioritizing: scattered or always putting out fires
    • Not delegating enough; overloaded
    • Overly focused on micro area of interest/expertise
  • 32.  
  • 33. Case Study – Moving Over
    • “ Peter” – Usability Intern
    • HF grad student, usability program intern
    • Interested in IxD
    • Used job description to identify experience opportunities
    • Hired F/T as designer after he graduated
  • 34. Case Study – Moving Up
    • “Rosie” – Mid-Level IA
    • Was in the position when I joined
    • Seemed to be doing a lot more than mid-level work
    • Annotated job description for the next level up – “checking off” met requirements
    • Got her into the right position quickly
  • 35. Case Study – Moving Out
    • “Nathan” - Junior-level UI designer
    • Missed meetings, follow-through problems
    • Sidetracked on random ideas
    • Set up 30-day Performance Improvement Plan
    • Quickly showed he wasn’t meeting minimum requirements
  • 36. Giving Objective Reviews
    • Use the job description as a benchmark
    • Point to specific behaviors
    • Be a mirror, not a judge
    • Focus on the future
    • Be supportive
    • Do it early and often, and do it in writing!
  • 37. Exercise: Gina
    • Mid-level User Experience Designer
    • Very strong performer when working on her own
    • Has had problems with clients – doesn’t do well negotiating and presenting her ideas
    • Really really really wants more responsibility and interaction with clients, like running requirements workshops
  • 38. What’s wrong with this feedback?
    • “ Gina, you’re a very talented designer but you’re just not good with clients. You can be really stubborn and difficult with design decisions and you need to get over that. I just don’t feel like you’re ready to move up to a client-facing position yet.”
    • How can we make this actually helpful for her?
    • Specific examples, mirror behavior, use objective language, focus on the future, be supportive!
  • 39. Exercise – SMART Goals
    • Gina’s goals:
      • Get better at dealing with clients
      • Learn more about running requirements workshops
    • How would you help Gina to make her goals:
      • S pecific (Do we both clearly understand what it is?)
      • M easurable (How will we know if she was successful?)
      • A ctionable (How will she do it?)
      • R ealistic (Will she realistically be able to do it?)
      • T ime-bound (When will she do it?)
  • 40.  
  • 41. Try it Out!
    • Use the handouts to get started
    • Use career pathing framework for your own development as well
    • Join the UX-Management list at iainstitute.org!
    • Some good books:
      • First Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently - Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
      • 12: The Elements of Great Managing – Rodd Wagner and James Harter
  • 42.
      • Kristen Johansen
      • Senior Manager, User Experience
      • [email_address]
      • Yahoo! IM: CitrixKristen